FROM the Federal Government came a revelation yesterday that Nigeria is now classified as a lower middle-income country with total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of N10 trillion.
The classification, which the government admitted has not practically translated into improved standards of living for the citizens, was as a result of the movement of the nation’s income per capita from $1,200 to $1,400.
Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama, told journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday that Nigeria is now the third fastest growing economy in the world with last year’s growth rate of 7.68 per cent.
According to him, Nigeria is queuing behind Mongolia with 14.9 per cent real growth rate and China with 8.4 per cent real GDP growth rate.
At the Council meeting, President Goodluck Jonathan directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to begin immediate enforcement of his earlier directive that no product, which could be sourced locally, is imported into the country for the execution of Federal Government projects.
He expressed regret that his earlier directive on local sourcing of goods for all contracts has not been “fully implemented.” Jonathan therefore said for approval to be sought for any product to be imported, there must be evidence that such product cannot be sourced locally.
The Council also ratified President Jonathan’s anticipatory approval of a total of N2.6 billion for the printing of 40 million permanent voters card by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the rate of N65 per card, to be issued to each registered card holder in Nigeria. The new card, which is the first phase, will replace temporary voters’ cards issued to 73.5 million voters during the 2011 registration exercise.
Ngama, who briefed journalists alongside with Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, disclosed that the 7.68 per cent growth came largely from agriculture. But he admitted that the growth rate might not have translated into improved standard of living for Nigerians because of “great income disparity within the country.”
According to the minister of state, “the gap between the poor and the rich in Nigeria might be the longest in Africa. We must ensure inclusive growth, growth that is just and well distributed. But the potential of the Nigerian economy show clearly that this country is still the number one destination for investment. Besides, as we tackle the other challenges delaying our growth, it shows clearly that there is a lot of confidence in the Nigerian economy. We, as a result, will now work harder on our competitiveness.”
He explained that “for the quarter which ended on December 31, 2011, Nigeria was third in terms of GDP growth. We recorded a GDP growth of 7.68 per cent in real terms and this is largely due to growth in the non-oil sector. The previous year, 2010, the GDP growth was 8.4 per cent but last year, it dropped to 7.68 per cent because we had a negative growth in the oil sector. So, it means that the non-oil sector is actually resilient and strong enough to carry the economy forward with or without the oil sector.
“But the more important story out of it is that as a nation, we have our Vision 20-2020, we have the objective of having one of the world strongest economies by the year 20-2020. All the other countries, apart from China, that are ahead of Nigeria are growing at a slower rate than Nigeria. When those ahead of you are growing slower, it means that in the next eight years, we will achieve our objective of being one of the strongest economies in the world. As at last December, our total GDP was more that N10 trillion. And that is a growth that is unprecedented, despite our challenges.”
On using locally-produced products to execute Federal Government contracts, the President asked the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, to list out all items that can be produced within Nigeria.
In March 2011, President Jonathan, through the Federal Executive Council, ordered Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to henceforth patronise locally-assembled goods, including vehicles in order to boost their production and increase employment. The directive was part of the government’s plans to promote made-in-Nigeria products.
According to Maku, “the President directed every MDA to list out those items that they will be procuring this year and sort out those that should be sourced in Nigeria. This is to encourage local producers and boost creation of jobs within the economy for the unemployed and school leavers. The President noted in Council today that in spite of this directive, MDAs were yet to fully implement it. So, he asked all MDAs that as we prepare for the 2012 budget year, they should list out in our procurement plans those things that should be procured locally. This is to ensure that we encourage local producers and also encourage domestic economic growth.”
The minister said President Jonathan “also directed the Minister of Trade and Investment to prepare a plan for those items, good and services, that we have the local capacity to produce but which we are lagging behind in their production. This will enable the government, through the economic management team, to sort out those items that we must deliberately set out to encourage local producers to produce within the country.”
On the contract for voters’ cards, Maku added that “next year, INEC is expected to bring another proposal for the production of another batch of voters’ cards to the Council for approval. The electoral process is one of the key programmes of this administration. We saw from the last election that our electoral processes are getting cleaner by the day. Post-election cases were down by more than two-thirds. So, the electoral process will continue to receive the attention of this administration. We urge INEC to ensure that the cards are printed as soon as possible and distributed to voters so that they can be ready for other elections between now and 2015.”
Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.
Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.
Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.
Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew
The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.
Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”
Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest
Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.
After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.
Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.
“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.
“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”
Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.
He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.
“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.
“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”
CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says
Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.
According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.
Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.
Read the release report below;
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